Meet the Chef – Elizabeth Casey

By Leslie Marin

Elizabeth Casey, pastry chef and owner of On the Rise Baking, brings to each and every cake, pastry, and confection that she creates years of intensive training and experience that span from coast to coast and from the US to Switzerland. She is an artist whose French chocolates, petit-fours, pulled and blown sugar designs, edible flowers and more have tantalized both the palates and eyes of clients who have hired her to create the finishing touches to high-end events in Central MA since she opened her bakery in 1993. What she is most known for, however, are her masterpiece wedding cakes, truly edible art.

Pulse: Elizabeth, it is obvious to anyone who sees your creations that you are not just a pastry chef, but an artist as well. What made you choose baking as your outlet for your creativity?

Elizabeth Casey: I always loved to bake, even as a child. I also have always loved chocolate, and have always enjoyed the artistry and creativity aspects of baking.


Photo by C.J. Yates Photography www.cjyatesphotography.net

P: Your site lists some flavor suggestions for wedding cakes ~ everything from chocolate genoise to lemon buttermilk to devil’s food. What’s your personal favorite? And what seems to be the most requested by clients?

EC: My favorite in the fall or winter is chocolate cake (devil’s food) with a bittersweet chocolate ganache and an espresso buttercream on the inside, and a bittersweet chocolate ganache on the outside of the cake, or a triple mousse cake. In the spring and summer I prefer a Genoise layered with fresh seasonal fruits.

P: Do you take special flavor requests from clients?

EC: Yes. Clients are not limited to the flavor combinations listed on my web site. We offer a variety of flavors and fillings, we just need to know the client’s likes and dislikes, or if there are any food allergies.

P: And speaking of client requests, what’s the most outlandish design you’ve been asked to create for a wedding?

EC: The most outlandish design was a wedding cake for a Luau theme. The bride and groom requested a three tiered cake covered in ocean blue fondant with a strip of marbleized fondant cascading down the middle of the three tiers to replicate a water fall. The base of the cake was garnished with fresh coconut halves filled with exotic orchids, and I scattered various sizes of chocolate rocks and pebbles around the base of the cake.

P: Have you noticed any trends over the past year or so in terms of wedding desserts? Are people still going with one main cake, or are they opting for smaller table cakes or even no cake and substituting other sweets?

EC: The majority of the clients I meet and work with order a wedding cake that will feed 120 guests, then have a utility cake in the kitchen to serve the remaining guests. 99% of the time they order their wedding cake to be served as dessert. Lately a lot of brides have ordered specialty cookies which are individually bagged in a clear cellophane bag and tied with a curling ribbon. For example, in January I made a winter theme wedding cake that was garnished with a cascade of sugar paste white and silver snow flakes. The bride presented each of her guests with a snow flake cookie that I’d placed in a clear cellophane bag and tied with a silver ribbon.


Photo by Ericson Photo www.ericsonphoto.com

P: Who’s the lucky person (or persons) who get to taste test any new ideas you come up with?

EC: For the past 13 years I’ve had a commercial kitchen out of my home, so any new ideas were specifically made for ~ and tasted by ~ the bridal couple. I will be moving to a store front later this month and then the customers will get to sample the new ideas.

P: Which venues and caterers have you had the chance to work with here in Worcester County?

EC: I am on the preferred vendor list at venues across Worcester County. Butternut Farm Country Club, Cyprian Keyes Country Club, Harding Allen Estate, The Harrington Farm, The International Club, Sterling Country Club, White Cliffs, and Zukas Hill Top Barn, to name a few.

P: The detail on your cakes and confections is exquisite. Is it something you have to practice constantly? Are you always researching new techniques?

EC: Yes, I am always looking for new techniques and taking classes when schedule permits. My inspiration for wedding designs comes from a variety of sources. The bride may have a theme she would like to incorporate into the design of her wedding cake, something from the details on her wedding gown or from her wedding invitation or a piece of heirloom jewelry. Last December we had a winter theme wedding cake and we incorporated tiny white lights into the cascade of the sugar paste snow flakes. I usually meet with the bride or bride and groom at least several times to discuss and finalize the design of their wedding cake. The wedding cake is one of the first things you notice when you enter the reception site.

P: OK, final question. Do you always save room for dessert?

EC: Absolutely!

For more about Elizabeth and her divine creations, head to http://ontherisebaking.com or call (508) 752-3809.